Healthy eating is one of the key things advocated by experts if we are to keep certain diseases at bay. This includes eye-related diseases.
Whole foods are believed to contain a number of nutrients needed by the body for good nourishment. These include plant compounds that serve as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, among other things.
Antioxidants have been touted as a panacea for various ailments, as they are believed to provide a defense against cell oxidative stress caused by excessive free radicals.
Although it’s recommended to eat a balanced healthy diet for overall health, there are key nutrients important for eye health, according to research.
Vitamin C is thought to have antioxidant effects along with vitamin E, beta carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, and zinc, while omega 3 fatty acids are thought to be pro-anti-inflammatory which is useful in curbing the “inflammation caused by exposure to sunlight and high metabolism”
Antioxidants such as anthocyanin, carotenoids, and flavonoids along wng with the said minerals and viramins are reported to work synergistically to help maintain good eye health and reduce the risk of macular degeneration
You are what you eat, that’s what experts often say right!! Anyway, without further ado lets dig deep into what science says about foods that are best for eye health.
How Does Eating Carrot Benefit Eyesight?
Carrot is rich in antioxidants beta carotene (carotenoid) which gives fruits and vegetables their pigment. Other than carrot, tomato, sweet potato, kale, peach, among others are also rich in vitamin A. “Beta carotene is a dietary source of pro-vitamin A”.
According to research, one study demonstrated that beta carotene along with other vitamins and other minerals such as vitamin C, E, zinc, and copper demonstrated the ability to reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration, AMD.
“Evidence has shown that eating fresh fruits and dark leafy vegetables-foods rich in vitamin C and E, selenium and carotenoid may delay the onset or reduce the severity of AMD”
Lutein and zeaxanthin are classified as carotenoids. Research cites that they have the “ability to protect the eyes from oxidative stress by absorbing the incoming light and keep cataract and macular degeneration” at bay.
These antioxidants are found in eggs, broccoli, kale, spinach, etc
Is Eating Orange Good For Eye Health?
Orange is commonly known as a good source of vitamin C. This vitamin has been found to be best for eye health due to its antioxidant properties and other functions.
Other than citrus fruits, green peppers and spinach are also rich in vitamin C, to name just a few.
Vitamin C is believed to be an effective antioxidant protecting the cells and tissues from oxidative stress.
Other than metabolism, exposure to sunlight and other toxins such as smoking can lead to the production of free radicals which may result in oxidative stress, research reports.
Research further reveals that the eye has a high metabolic rate and thus needs extended antioxidant protection.
“The RDA for vitamin C 75 mg/day for women (19 years and older) and 90 mg/day for men (19years and older), according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Does Eating Spinach Benefit Eye Health?
Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin is thought to play the role of the antioxidant in cell protection.
According to research, “fats are an integral part of the cell membrane and are prone to damage by free radicals”. Vitamin E as an antioxidant counteracts the impact of fats oxidation by free radicals.
“This is important given that the retina is highly concentrated in fatty acid. Vitamin E is said to have the tendency to lose its antioxidant ability when neutralizing the free radicals”.
Well, all is not doom and gloom as research reports that vitamin C can regenerate the antioxidant ability of vitamin E.
” RDA for vitamin E is 15 mg/day for both women and men (19 years and older)”
Other sources of vitamin E include seeds, nuts, whole grain, broccoli, spinach, etc.
Should We Eat Fish For A Better Eyesight?
Oxidation and inflammation are the “mischief-makers” as they are thought to be involved in the development of age-related eye disorders such as macular degenerative disease and cataract.
Research cites that omega 3 fatty acids found in fish can mitigate the risk of age relayed eye disease as it does for heart health
Food sources of omega 3 fatty acids include tuna, mackerel, trout, sardines, etc.
Oysters Are Among Food Sources Of Zinc And Are Said To Boost Eye Health
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “vitamin C is a mineral with antioxidant effects and helps keep the retina healthy and may protect the eyes from damaging effects of light.”
While zinc plays a role in keeping our eyes healthy and boosting immunity, it is reiterated that a good ratio between zinc and copper is important and eating a healthy balanced diet is crucial as we get the supply of nutrients in diversity according to experts.
However, this could be a bit of an issue, especially for vegetarians and vegans as phytic acid present in most plant-based foods binds with iron and zinc and can interfere with the absorption of these nutrients in the body and lead to a deficiency of these minerals as a result.
Other food sources of zinc: beef, eggs, whole grains, legumes, etc.
Does Smoking Damage Eyesight?
Research reveals that smoking can compromise eye health, as it has also been “associated with other diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease”
It is thought that smoking can speed up the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, AMD, and can lead to vision loss”
Over and above that smoking is also linked to cataracts and diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, dry eyes syndrome”
Research further states that those who are smoking are not only putting their own health at risk but also those around them as well.
“Previous studies have pointed to long term smoking as doubling the risk of age-related macular degeneration and as a factor causing lens yellowing inflammation,” says Science News
Inflammation and oxidation appear to be the major issue when it comes to an age-related eye disorder. They are linked to many other diseases as well, according to research.
Thankfully, all is not lost as science can help us mitigate their impacts or as it is often said, prevention is better than cure.
As it stands, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities of plant nutrients can help us keep inflammation and oxidative stress at bay at least that’s what experts say.
As mentioned above, nutrients such as vitamin C, E, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega 3 fatty acids, have been found to have the potential to boost eye health due to the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties they possess.
These nutrients are found in most food sources as stated above.
At the end of the day, healthy eating among other factors will take us a long way.
I hope this article was useful to you, if that’s the case do leave your comment, and/or opinion in the comment section below.